Saturday, November 27

Closing Day 3: What Happened Today?

It was the news that nobody wanted to hear. The Delta variant could not be contained in Auckland and has spread, with three confirmed cases in Wellington.

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Photo: RNZ

When the cases were announced in the capital this morning, it was obvious to the entire nation that he would remain locked up.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed in the afternoon that we would remain at alert level 4 until at least midnight on Tuesday.

The cabinet will meet on Monday to decide the next step in the country’s alert levels.

Ardern told the media that the move means there will be more time to assess which part of the country has been affected.

“We just don’t know the full scale of this Delta outbreak. All of this tells us that we must remain cautious,” he said.

The three Wellingtons had recently traveled to Auckland and visited a place of interest there. Two of those people had returned by car and had made stops along the way. Another had taken a flight home.

This afternoon another eight new cases of community Covid-19 were announced. In a statement, the Health Ministry said there are now 31 cases associated with the current Auckland community outbreak.

“All cases have been transferred or are being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including wearing full PPE,” he said.

The 11 new community cases included three separate cases that were in family bubbles with previously reported cases, while two of the current cases are also together in a family bubble.

They are all being interviewed about their movements in recent days.

In other developments, an Air New Zealand international crew member reported yesterday was confirmed as a border-related case unrelated to the Auckland outbreak, based on genome sequencing results. There were also two new cases in managed isolation.

Locations of Interest Increase

The current locations of interest have grown with newly identified cases and are updated regularly. on the website of the Ministry.

The first location of interest in the Wellington region was identified as a sushi restaurant, linking several bus routes, a kindergarten, churches and an RSA bowling alley in Auckland.

One Sushi Porirua, at 10 Serlby Place, was visited between 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Nearly 1,200 individual contacts from community cases had been identified this morning, excluding contacts from large settings, such as Avondale College and Auckland Central Church of Christ, which were still being evaluated.

Cars are lining up outside the Northcote test station.

Cars are lining up outside the Northcote test station.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Test jumps as queues grow

With the news of the outbreak spreading, the evidence has increased. Today, thousands of people were waiting outside testing centers across the country, particularly in Auckland and Wellington.

Yesterday 27,899 tests were processed in New Zealand. The ministry said the testing centers in Auckland had their busiest day, by more than 50 percent, with 24,000 swabs taken. There are currently 13 community testing centers available for testing throughout Auckland, including Northcote and St Lukes.

A healthcare worker attends his duties at the Devonport testing station.

A healthcare worker attends his duties at the Devonport testing station.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Proven hospital staff

Approximately 2,600 swabs taken from Auckland City Hospital staff had been negative so far, after a fully vaccinated staff member worked there while it was unknowingly potentially infectious.

North Shore Hospital took action after a patient was confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19 and was treated there.

At least 30 North Shore Hospital staff members had direct contact with a patient. The hospital’s emergency department and short-stay surgical unit were closed.

Approximately 120 staff members may have been in the affected areas at the same time as the patient.

NZ Post affected

The New Zealand Post also revealed a positive case of Covid-19 this morning, a temporary worker at its Auckland Operations Center in Highbrook. The staff was being tested.

Chief Health Officer Dr. Bloomfield said testing rates across the country had been six to ten times the usual level.


Avondale College

Avondale College
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

More important sights arrived today with the news that a Northcote College student tested positive for Covid-19. The student had been at school on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Staff and students were ordered to isolate themselves at home.

Lynfield College at Mt Roskill also confirmed that a student tested positive. All staff and students are considered close contacts and are now self-isolating. The student was contagious at school on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Vaccines Resume and Stocks Soar

Vaccination clinics were back up and running after a one-day hiatus to implement level 4 alert protocols, but an Auckland clinic said it was now doing half the number of vaccinations as before the shutdown. There have been 400,000 vaccine stocks in the last two days.

Emerging police checkpoints

Twelve people have been charged for violating Covid-19 restrictions since the start of the last alert level 4 lockdown, police announced today.

Most of the charges were related to protests, and an additional 20 formal warnings were issued for breach of the rules.

Commissioner Andrew Coster said that between midnight on August 17 and 5 pm on August 19, police received 1,869 online rape notifications, 670 related to Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Of those reports, 984 were about a meeting, 742 about a business and 143 about an individual,” Coster said.

Meanwhile, a police officer in Mahia has been sending tourists home while a local iwi trust considers installing roadside checkpoints. The tourists had traveled from as far away as Wellington, only to be told by Agent Chad Prentice to go home.

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